July 1 Cuts: Nantucket Island Gets Even More Remote

Cape Medical Supply says it can’t accept new patients on the island due to bid expansion.

National bid expansion is already having a negative impact on rural markets. Case in point: New England’s famed Nantucket Island, famed for early America’s whaling trade is losing its only respiratory HME provider.

After serving Nantucket patients for at least 30 years, Sandwich, Mass.-headquartered Cape Medical Supply Inc. will no longer accept new patients on the island. As the sole respiratory provider for the remote community, Cape Medical simply can no longer afford to serve clients there, according to company President and CEO Gary Sheehan.

“I have wasted more hours and dollars than I care to count traveling back and forth to Washington, D.C. over the past decade pleading with Congress to fix this program, warning them that there would be access issues, and trying to convince them that Medicare doesn't understand the consequences of their actions,” Sheehan wrote in a heartfelt blog post. “Unfortunately, to date all of this activity has been to no avail. So here we are today, having to tell an island community that because of feckless Medicare policies and inaction by Congress that we can no longer provide life-sustaining equipment to their residents. This is a sad indictment of a broken political and regulatory process.”

While painful, stories such as Cape Medical Supply’s demonstrate the negative impact of rural cuts due to bid expansion, and the American Association for Homecare is hoping to use such stories to illustrate why lawmakers need to support rural relief.

The association is calling on providers that are making similarly difficult business decisions due to the July 1 cuts to share their stories with Tilly Gambill at tillyg@aahomecare.org.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/dkopf/ and on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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